Research / BFI Working PaperJun 25, 2021

The Impact of Free Secondary Education: Experimental Evidence from Ghana

Esther Duflo, Pascaline Dupas, Michael Kremer

Following the widespread adoption of free primary education, African policymakers are now considering making secondary school free, but little is known about the private and social benefits of free secondary education. We exploit randomized assignment to secondary school scholarships among 2,064 youths in Ghana, combined with 12 years of data, to establish that scholarships increase educational attainment, knowledge, skills, and preventative health behaviors, while reducing female fertility. Eleven years after receipt of the scholarship, only female winners show private labor market gains, but those come primarily in the form of better access to jobs with rents (in particular rationed jobs in the public sector). We develop a simple model to interpret the labor market results and help think through the welfare impact of free secondary education.

More Research From These Scholars

BFI Working Paper Nov 16, 2020

Optimal Vaccine Subsidies for Endemic and Epidemic Diseases

Matthew Goodkin-Gold, Michael Kremer, Christopher M. Snyder, Heidi L. Williams
Topics:  COVID-19
BFI Working Paper Dec 7, 2020

Designing Advance Market Commitments for New Vaccines

Michael Kremer, Jonathan D. Levin, Christopher M. Snyder
Topics:  Health care, COVID-19
BFI Working Paper Jun 10, 2021

Could Vaccine Dose Stretching Reduce COVID-19 Deaths?

Witold Więcek, Amrita Ahuja, Michael Kremer, Alexandre Simoes Gomes, Christopher M. Snyder, Alex Tabarrok, Brandon Joel Tan
Topics:  COVID-19, Health care